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05-08-1966 - current


jazz, piano, synthesizer


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Michiel Borstlap

Michiel Borstlap (The Hague, 5 August 1966) has built an international reputation as a virtuoso pianist mixing jazz with classical and contemporary influences. At the time he graduates from the Hilversum Conservatory he is leading a sextet featuring a frontline with three rising stars, who will soon become important band ...
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piano, synthesizer

Mentioned in the biography of

1962   Joris Teepe
1968   Benjamin Herman
1990   Yuri Honing
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Biography Michiel Borstlap

Michiel Borstlap (The Hague, 5 August 1966) has built an international reputation as a virtuoso pianist mixing jazz with classical and contemporary influences. At the time he graduates from the Hilversum Conservatory he is leading a sextet featuring a frontline with three rising stars, who will soon become important band leaders in their own right: Eric Vloeimans, Benjamin Herman and Yuri Honing. In 1996 Borstlap wins the BMI/Thelonious Monk Jazz Composers Competition with the composition Memory Of Enchantment, which is recorded by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. In addition to jazz he also composes an Arab opera and film music, the latter earning him a Gouden Kalf (the Dutch Oscar). Both on stage and in the studio Borstlap manifests himself as a pivotal figure between different musical worlds: jazz, jazzrock, improv, pop and dance. Spontaneous improvisations in front of an audience lead to a lengthy collaboration with the British drummer Bill Bruford and the trio BBG, featuring ICP musicians Han Bennink and Ernst Glerum. The CD Monk Volume One earns the threesome an Edison Jazz (Dutch Grammy). Borstlap regularly performs with DJs and pop greats, including Gino Vannelli and Trijntje Oosterhuis. His best seller is the CD/DVD Solo 2010, on which he plays unaccompanied solo piano.

1966 - 1992

Michiel Borstlap is born in The Hague and grows up in Utrecht. He stems from an artistic family; his parents are the avant-garde composer Dick Borstlap and the writer Bertien de Moor. As a boy he spends a great deal of time with his uncle Heppe and his aunt Margriet de Moor, a visual artist and a novelist respectively. At the age of five he stats taking classical piano lessons. From the age of nine he takes classes in jazz piano with Hans Heinhuis. After high school Borstlap enrolls at the Hilversum Conservatory, where he is taught by Henk Elkerbout and Rob Madna. In 1992 he graduates summa cum laude. In the same year the debut album by his sextet is released, and he wins the prize for best soloist at the Europe Jazz Contest in Brussels.

1993 - 1996

Borstlap performs with various bands and composes for his own sextet, featuring a frontline with the trumpeter Eric Vloeimans and the saxophonists Benjamin Herman and Yuri Honing. The band members receive rave reviews for their technical prowess and their talent as improvisers. A grant allows Borstlap to spend a great deal of time in New York. In 1996 The Sextet Live! is released, a registration of a concert at the Amsterdam Bimhuis. In September he wins the BMI/Thelonious Monk Jazz Composers Competition with the composition Memory Of Enchantment. The prize earns him the sum of 10,000 dollar. At the award ceremony in Washington D.C. the composition is performed by saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock. CNN and ABC Television cover the ceremony live on TV.

Benjamin Herman Eric Vloeimans Yuri Honing

1997 - 1999

At the 1997 SJU Festival in Utrecht Michiel Borstlap and Yuri Honing present their jazzrock band White House. Huub van Riel, artistic director of the Bimhuis, teams up Borstlap with the ICP Orchestra's rhythm section: bassist Ernst Glerum and drummer Han Bennink. The meeting takes place at the Bimhuis stage in May 1997 and is a great success, both with the musicians and the audience. In July 1997 the Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock CD 1+1 is released, featuring an acoustic performance of Borstlap's Memory Of Enchantment. White House performs at the North Sea Jazz Festival. The concert with Glerum and Bennink is released on CD. At the invitation of broadcasting company VPRO Borstlap assembles an ad hoc formation featuring bassist Jimmy Haslip in 1998. Borstlap's sextet performs at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, as support band to Chick Corea & Origin. In December Borstlap shares the stage with the classical pianist Ivo Janssen. Early 1999 Borstlap signs a recording contract with Polygram/Verve. The sub-label EmArcy releases the CD Body Acoustic. Borstlap presents his eponymous band at the North Sea Jazz Festival and at the Verve Label Night at the festival Umbria Jazz. He moves to Amsterdam and signs a sponsor deal with United Airlines.

Ernst Glerum Han Bennink

2000 - 2002

The Jimmy Haslip/Michiel Borstlap Electric Band tours twice in 2000. A concert at the SJU Jazzpodium in Utrecht is released later that year as the CD LiveLine. In April 2000 Borstlap participates in a jam session at the Bimhuis featuring singer Trijntje Oosterhuis. In 2001 he gives a number of solo concerts. Gramercy Park, his third album for Universal, is a 3 CD box: one with solo recordings, one with trios, and one made in collaboration with Soulvation, DJ Ronald Molendijk's dance project. At the North Sea Jazz Festival he performs with bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Jeff 'Tain' Watts. In 2002 the collaboration with Trijntje Oosterhuis takes on regular shape and there are concerts with Trijntje Oosterhuis/Michiel Borstlap & Acoustic Band. A DVD is released of a documentary by Jop Pannekoek documenting the Michiel Borstlap Sextet tour in China. Late 2002 he performs with the Uzbek singer Yulduz Usmanova and the Spanish percussionist Josep Vincent.

Soulvation Trijntje Oosterhuis

2003 - 2004

Borstlap joins the electronically oriented quartet Redux with guitarist Jesse van Ruller. At the Rotterdam World Port Jazz Festival he performs with a trio featuring bassist Stefan Lievestro and drummer Bill Bruford. At the 2003 North Sea Jazz Festival the Michiel Borstlap Electric Band is joined by guitarist Pat Metheny, who performs at the festival as artist in residence with a number of Dutch jazz artists of his own choosing. In August Borstlap leaves for Cairo for a rush order: he is to write the first Arab opera, commissioned by the emir of Qatar, and is given ten weeks to do it. He is aided by music journalist Melchior Huurdeman. On 14 October 2003 the opera Ibn Sina premieres in Qatar, as part of a festive program for American guests. In January 2004 he does ten concerts with singer Edsilia Rombley. In the same month the CD Piano Solo: Standards is released. At the North Sea Jazz Festival he closes the Friday night with DJ Maestro. Late 2004 sees the release of the live album Every Step A Dance Every Word A Song by Bruford/Borstlap. The duo also produces the DVD In Concert In Holland.

2005 - 2007

In 2005 the CD Coffee & Jazz by the Michiel Borstlap Trio is released in a limited Japanese edition. Initially Coffee & Jazz can only be obtained at the eponymous Amsterdam coffee shop. The CD mentions the sponsors Tommy Hilfiger, Cadillac and United Airlines. The release party in September is held at a sold-out Amsterdam Paradiso. At this occasion Borstlap presents his new band Elektron, featuring trumpeter Sanne van Hek. A CD/DVD with audio and video recordings of live performances by the BBG trio (Bennink, Borstlap, Glerum) is released. In November 2005 the international publishing company Sher Music Co. publishes the European Real Book, featuring two scores by Borstlap, including Memory Of Enchantment. Borstlap isolates himself in Italy to write a book. In October 2006 Opera In Qatar is published by Van Oorschot. It is a detailed account of the genesis of the opera Borstlap wrote for the emir of Qatar. In the Amersfoort Theater Borra he meets pop singer Gino Vannelli, who has taken up temporary residence in the Netherlands. In November the two embark upon a tour. In April 2007 they perform two songs in the popular TV talkshow De Wereld Draait Door and in July they are present at the North Sea Jazz Festival.

2008 - 2009

Borstlap composes the soundtrack for the feature film Tiramisu by director Paula van der Oest, which premieres in January 2008. His new album Eldorado, produced by Reinder van Zalk (of Lange Frans & Baas B fame), has a contemporary nu-jazz sound, and features piano and keyboards as well as many samples and electronic beats. In February 2008 a second CD by Bruford and Borstlap is released, with live recordings from 2006 and 2007. From October 2008 Borstlap programs the Eldorado Club at the Amsterdam club Sugar Factory every first Monday of the month. In the same month he is awarded the Gouden Kalf (Dutch Oscar) for the Tiramisu soundtrack. A new release by the trio BBG is the CD Monk Volume One, devoted to Thelonious Monk compositions exclusively. The album is an initiative by former Philips CEO Cor Boonstra and is recorded at his Antwerp home, a former ballet studio. Monk Volume One is awarded an Edison Jazz Award 2009 (the Dutch Grammy).


Borstlap participates in a radio documentary about Jelle de Vries, who wrote hundreds of songs and lyrics for the VARA broadcasting company. He records ten songs, including Klatergoud, which he also performs at his solo concerts. In February the CD/DVD Solo 2010 is released. The CD has been recorded in his own studio at his new home in Nigtevecht. The DVD contains a video registration of a solo performance in Maastricht and a recording of Borstlap's band at work in the Washington D.C. club Blues Alley. Borstlap starts work on the soundtrack for Son Of The South, a film project by director Barry Alexander Brown and producer Spike Lee. In August 2010 the festival Haarlem Jazzstad presents the Michiel Borstlap Special Night, in which the pianist performs solo, with his band and with DJ Ronald Molendijk. It is the kick-off for a solo tour. The festival Jazz International Rotterdam invites Borstlap to be its guest programmer in 2010. Under the title Personal Voices he presents fellow pianists like Simon Nabatov and Gideon van Gelder, and he performs with singer Lori Lieberman.

Jelle de Vries


Afters appearances at The Hague Jazz and North Sea Jazz Festival the album Blue is released in October, named after his daughter, born on 15 June. Blue is also the title of a Dutch theatre tour which starts in September.


In May the album 88 is released by the Michiel Borstlap Trio, featuring Boudewijn Lucas (bass) and Erik Kooger (drums).

Discography Michiel Borstlap

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

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